Sports betting

District of Columbia sports betting bill clears final hurdle

Bill now heads to congress for approval as state prepares to regulate sports betting

Legalized sports betting in the US capital of Washington DC moved a step closer yesterday following the passage of a bill by the District of Columbia city council.

Bill 22-944, or the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act, was passed by an 11-2 voting margin and allows for the acceptance of bets “conducted over the internet or through mobile applications or other digital platforms that is initiated and received, or otherwise made, exclusively within the physical confines of the single approved sports wagering facility.”

As part of the new bill, the District of Columbia Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board is to be rebranded as the new Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) and will be responsible for the regulation and administration of sports betting.

The OLG is given the power to issue licenses to sports betting operators at a cost of $250,000 for a Class A licence and $50,000 for a Class B license. Both sets of licenses will be valid for five years. In addition, operators can obtain a shorter two-year license at a reduced cost of $5,000.

Online and mobile betting is authorised across the district, although retail sports betting is limited based on the license being applied for.

The bill states that class A licenses can only be issued to “designated facilities” including the Capital One Arena, Audi Field, Nationals Park and St. Elizabeth’s East Entertainment and Sports Arena. As part of regulations, these venues will have a two-block exclusivity zone in which no competing bookmakers can operate.

Class B licences are broadly the same as Class A licences and can be offered to other establishments within the district. However, the two-block exclusivity zone will not apply to class B licenses.

Under the new legislation, the OLG is also allowed to issue fines of up to $50,000 for violations of regulations by licensed operators. Both retail and online sports betting operators will be taxed at 10% of gross gambling revenue.

The bill will now be passed to a congressional review, however in the interim councillors passed emergency legislation allowing them to move forward with regulation.

District of Columbia | Legislation | License | Regulation | Sports betting | US | Washington